Welcome to the South Beach!
Westport, Grayland, North Cove and Tokeland are collectively called the South Beach. This area, also referred to as the Cranberry Coast, is on the south side of Grays Harbor, easily accessible from Puget Sound to the north and Portland to the south.
All the charm of fishing villages, cranberry bogs, beachcombing, kite flying, charter fishing, whale watching and more are at your doorstep; whether you stay in one of the areas many motels, cabins, guest houses, B&B's, camp in one of the State Parks, or "hole up" at one of the many RV camping resorts.
Tops on anyone's list are the 18 miles of pristine ocean beaches that offer sand and surf, seashells and sand dollars, shorebirds and sunsets. Storm watch in the winter, sunbathe in the summer, or just pull up a drift log and take in all the natural beauty.
Year Round Fun for the Entire Family!
The South Beach area is renown for it's fishing, but there is more. There are countless fun activities and beaches to explore during every season of the year.
Go-karts, bowling, an aquarium, bike rentals, and arcades entertain anyone with a sense of fun. Westport City Park has been developed for family activity with a children's play area, a community house for large gatherings and tennis courts. The variety of restaurants, from decadent to down-home, offers all kinds of cuisine, with seafood at the freshest you'll ever find.
Kites are a common sight on the beaches in Westport and Grayland, with a mid-summer kite festival and fun for everyone. There are several kite shops for the serious flyer and most gift shops stock kites as well for every age and experience level.
"Thar She Blows" are words to live by on the South Beach from March through May, when gray whales migrate up the coast to their summer feeding grounds in the Bering Sea. Check with the various charter boat offices in the marina district for whale watching cruise times and prices.
Westport's Marina District has a charming waterfront promenade. A Viewing tower provides great views of the harbor, ocean and beaches.
Westport offers a challenging, cold water surfing experience. There are local surf shops that offer gear, rentals and lessons, as well as advice and local surfing lore. Westport hosts several surfing competitions throughout the year.
The Historic Maritime Museum is located in the former U.S. Coast Guard Lifeboat Station Grays Harbor in the Marina District. This former Nantucket-style station offers displays on local history and industries, life-saving activity, shipwrecks, and more. The Destruction Island Lens exhibit affords visitors a unique opportunity to see an operating first-order Fresnel lighthouse lens. The glass fronted building of the whale exhibit contains skeletons of whales, seals, porpoises and other marine mammals.
The Gray's Harbor Lighthouse at 107 feet is the tallest in Washington State and the second tallest on the entire West Coast. It has been guiding mariners into the harbor for over 100 years. A scenic history trail links the Grays Harbor lighthouse with the marina district.
Thrill to a World Class Fishing Experience!
Long hailed as the salmon capital of the world, Westport is famous for deep-sea fishing of all types. The bustling marina is the largest on the Washington coast and offers a view of busy commercial and sports fishing charter boats. In season, visitors can fish from the docks. The Westport Charterboat Association sponsors daily and weekly derbies virtually all season long, including the Boat Basin Derby in September and October each year.
Westport and Grayland are also famous for those delectable razor clams. Once plentiful, then almost extinct, the clam is now making a comeback. Regulated "dig dates" are announced for both fall and spring.
If crab is your crustacean of choice, you can catch them, eat them and even race them! The Annual Crab Race Festivities are held the third week in April. Held inside a giant event tent in the Marina District, you can race live crabs to win prizes, enjoy a crab feed, dance to live music, and enjoy other events during this special "homage to the crab" weekend.
If you prefer your "catch" already caught, you can usually find great fresh seafood directly off the boat at various floats (look for signs) or from several seafood markets. If you're at the coast over Labor Day, visit the Annual Seafood Festival and Craft Show, held on the grounds of the Maritime Museum in Westport. This perennial favorite features great food, live music and local crafters.
Enjoy a Network of State Parks!
There are many parks in the area including the Westport Lighthouse Park. This day-use park has 212 acres and 3,397 feet of ocean front enjoyment. Westhaven State Park, located just off Highway 105 on the way to the Marina district is a 79-acre day-use facility. Farther south are the Twin Harbors State Park and Grayland State Park, both offering camping sites on the beach and in the woods.
Discover a World of Cranberries and Collectibles!
Five miles south of Westport lies Grayland, where cranberries are the "little red jewel." Blossom time is in late June and the harvest in October provides a spectacular show of color. The annual Cranberry Festival features arts and crafts, a cranberry cooking contest, a parade, live music and tours of the bogs and the Cranberry Museum.
Grayland is often seen as the "collectibles" town. You can find wonderful antiques and collectibles in the gift shops and galleries that stay open all year around, from Westport along the coast to Tokeland, 20 miles to the south.
Your Destination for Festivals and Celebrations!
In addition to surfing contests, kite festivals, seafood festivals, crab races and cranberry festivities, there are other events to make your South Beach experience unique.
Pirates, plunder and plenty of fun headlines the annual Rusty Scupper Pirate Daze, the last weekend in June. Westport merchants don their pirate garb and offer special sales and activities that would entice even Davy Jones from his locker. Music and dancing in the streets, walking the plank and much more highlight this every-growing festival.
There are great 4th of July celebrations throughout the South Beach. The parade in Tokeland is a real neighborhood tradition. Locals and visitors to the South beach deck themselves, their pets and their vehicles with colorful patriotic themes and then strut their stuff. The Booming Bay Fireworks Display is presented at dusk on the 4th of July by the Westport Volunteer Fire Department.
In early August, the South Beach area is alive with tourists from all over the world as they come to the International Nautical Chainsaw Carving Festival. Chainsaw carvers from all over the U.S., Canada, Japan and Australia gather to let the chips fall where they may and in the process create beautiful and amazingly delicate carvings with nautical themes, vying for cash and merchandise prizes. Now in its 15th year, the Westport contest has become the largest of its kind in the world and is even included in the Guinness Book of Records.
The Westport Art Festival also occurs in August, along the esplanade at the Marina. Over 60 Northwest vendors come on the 3rd weekend in August to exhibit and sell their art. The festival features invited nautical artists, strolling musicians and live performances in the band shell on the Maritime Museum grounds.
Your Adventure Begins Here!
Your trip to the South Beach is an adventure. It might lead to an excursion on the high seas to enjoy whale watching or deep-sea fishing. Or you might prefer to casually stroll the 18 miles of sandy beaches, browse through an art gallery or bookstore, visit the lighthouse or spend a few hours at the fascinating Maritime Museum. Regardless of your interest, the South Beach provides plenty of entertaining and exciting options for the entire family. When planning your next seaside getaway, call the Westport/Grayland Chamber of Commerce at 360-268-9422 or 1-800-345-6223.
* Thank you to the Westport/Grayland Chamber of Commerce for this City Description.